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Chrysler Minivan Transmission Problems



  • Hi,
    I'm planning to get a 2008 Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge Grand Caravan in next 2 weeks. The LIFETIME POWERTRAIN WARRANTY seems to be a big plus. Would this cover transmission problems in the future? I had a 98 Plymouth Voyager, and about a dozen relatives/friends with same vans had transmission issues after 5+ yrs. I'm hesitating to get another Chrysler/Dodge van. Please advise. Thanks.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Would this cover transmission problems in the future?"

    Yup, drive that sucker a million miles over the next twenty years and they'll pay for all the transmissions you need (if any). ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • I would not buy a Chrysler or Dodge Van at this time.I have a new 2007 Caravan and the transmission is bad in it. I've taken it to the dealership but they say they have no fix for it. They have been selling these vans knowing the problem with the transmissions.I was told that it would be 60 to 90 days before a fix would take place. It's now 85 days and have heard nothing. Give some second thought on the Van.........
  • Ya, bet they don't have a fix for it......
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    While I understand that you are not happy with the way your transmission shifts, I'm curious as to why you consider your transmission "bad". It may not be comfortable, it may be annoying, it may be a lot of things you don't like, but do you know for a fact that it won't go the distance?

    Best Regards,
  • Am in process of replacing my transmission in my 1996 dodge caravan 3.0 v6 with 3speed automatic without the overdrive. Have purchased a used transmission out of a plymouth acclaim looks like will bolt up to engine but is missing the crankshaft sensor. My question will transmission work without the crankshaft sensor. I don't think so?
  • Thanks Tom for the advise. Makes sense.. very unethical practice how a corporation would sell a big $$$ item product with known defect to families such as a car/van. Automobiles such as vans are essential to all parents, esp. to moms and grandmas who would be stalled in highways alongside with their kids in the van. This also pose safety concerns for infants in cold winters or summer heat. I wonder how this corp. could get away with this practice for decades...
  • I consider my transmission "bad" because a $30,000.00 van should not be "annoying" or "not comfortable" the $12,000.00 KIA i rented last week shifted smoooooth as silk every time, i guess im just expecting too much from my $30,000.00 Chrysler.

    Best Regards,
  • Shipo; your right, I don't know if it will go the distance but as of this date they still don't have a fix for the transmission. I shouldn't have to wait this long for a repair on a new vehicle.So if they can't fix the problem that I and several others have, i would say it's bad!
  • Hey, slightly off subject but it seems a few of you might know what you're talking about so I have ask! :P

    Our 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan Sport is leaking trans fluid and the tranie has slipped a few times. Like shifted up late or shifting down harshly.

    My husband is about to throw the car away as he's heard of so many trans problems. Our warranty has run out as we're at 85000 miles.

    Although my husband usually know what he's talking about, most of his experience is with old muscle cars and classics and he wants a 4wd so his opinion might be tainted ;) .

    Does anyone think these symptoms warrant concern? Anyone have experience with this or know where to send us for more information?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Given the fact that you have a leak, the transmission might be slipping due to low fluid and nothing more. Were I in your shoes I'd take it to a dealer and have them give it a good look-see. A simple pan gasket leak is exceedingly simple to repair, however, if the leak is coming from some of the other seals, they're more expensive to repair but still WAAAAY cheaper than a new car. In fact, even in the unlikely event that you have to buy a whole new transmission (about $2,600), that's still way cheaper than buying another car.

    The good news about these vans is that, aside from what appears to be a slightly higher incidence of transmission repairs than most other brands (except apparently Honda), the rest of the vehicle is quite robust. FWIW, our two Grand Caravans (one older than yours, one newer) have a combined 250,000 miles on them and they run as well today as they did when they were brand new.

    Best Regards,
  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    I've driven a Kia as a rental and was quite pleased with it. If a dearlership was in my town , I would have bought one. Wish that I had gone the extra 45 miles to buy one
  • Thanks. We owned a Crysler Plymoth Voyager that had about 250,000 miles on it, about 5 years ago. It did have one engine rebuild and 1 tranie replacement but it was a good car, nonetheless.

    I think I'll suggest having the Caravan checked out before we go the new car route...

    Thanks Shipo!
  • I just bought a 1998 plymouth voyager and the transmission doesn't shift properly.

    It shifts ok when taking off but once it goes through all the gears it will down shift and stay like that until I

    come to a stop and then it starts all over again.

    Sometimes it will shift normally while getting on the highway but then downshift and stay there

    but then nothing it's like it's in neutral what can this be???
  • I consider my transmission "bad" because a $30,000.00 van should not be "annoying" or "not comfortable" the $12,000.00 KIA i rented last week shifted smoooooth as silk every time, i guess im just expecting too much from my $30,000.00 Chrysler.

    I have had similar exeriences, and I have to agree and disagree with 2006 Caravan (3.3L) has the same "annoying" characteristics as my parent's 94 T&C and 91 Dodge Dynasty. It absolutely amazes me that this transmission still stumbles on the 1-2 upshift after nearly 20 years of production. However, I have found that this is not necessarily a cause for concern about longevity....both of my parent's transmissions lasted 90k miles with no problems at all, though both units started to fail at 90k. My wife has a Hyundai Sonata (which uses a transmission of similar design) and it shifts flawlessly every time....smooth as silk every shift. Overall, I love my Caravan and view the transmission as adding personality to it, but quite frankly, there is no excuse for Chrysler to still be having these issues with a 20 year old design. Maybe the new 6 speed will be better....

  • this is not a stumble from 1 to 2 it is a thump hard enough to rattle the dash, i agree it probably will not effect longevity but it will effect resale value, how do you explain this poor shifting to a potential buyer who is probably already cautious of these transmissions? and a trans failing at 90K is not acceptable to me

  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    Tomorrow is supposed to be the fix date for my 07 Caravan.I would bet money that it's not going to happen. Will let you know.
  • and a trans failing at 90K is not acceptable to me

    No argument here....I think the average lifespan for these transmissions is about 100k, which in modern times is ridiculously little....there are posts on this board of people who have gotten over 150k, but they had to do numerous fluid changes and treat the tranny very gently all it's life to get it there. People can make all the excuses they want, but I've had experiences with Chryslers and Oldsmobiles in the 80's that went 100k miles with no trans problems.....the old 3 speed Chrysler trans were nearly bullet proof.....even my 91 Ford Escort went almost 100k with no trans problems and only one fluid change. My only point is that these quirks don't necessarily mean there is a problem (though the thump you describe is not normal), but even with a properly operating trans, you will be lucky to get 100k out of it. Chrysler is going to be replacing a bunch of these under their new lifetime warranty.

    I know that some of you on this board have a lot more technical expertise than I do....can you shed any light on why, after nearly 20 yrs, these problems still exist?

  • "I know that some of you on this board have a lot more technical expertise than I do....can you shed any light on why, after nearly 20 yrs, these problems still exist?"


    Denial!! ;) :shades:
  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    I just came from dealership and they did not get the fix today but their calling every day to keep preasure on tech. services for the updates. Just another way of putting us off.
  • I am looking to buy a 2008 grand caravan.Can anyone tell me how hard it is to hook up my xm unit. I have a roady 2
  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    Dealership called today and said the transmission updates will be this week.Just putting me and others off. Tonight I filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. I think every one should file a complaint with them. Will advise if I get a response from them.
  • To everyone with 2007 Caravans.

    I have an early 2007 model I purchased in December. I just turned 15,000 miles on it. The clunky/rough shift in and out of 1st gear is just as bad as the day I bought it. So the idea that this problem will go away as soon as the van "learns" your driving habits obviously does not apply to this specific problem.
  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    What have they told you about the transmission.I've filed a complaint with the federal trade commisssion few days ago.Going to take it to another Chrysler Dearlership and see if they give the same answers.
  • I have not taken it in yet. After seeing on some message boards that a service bulletin was coming soon, I have just been waiting for it because my wife drives this and I am having trouble with my 07 Dodge also. However it was supposed to be out a couple of months ago, and I am beginning to wonder about whether it is really coming or not.

    Believe it or not I also have a 2007 Ram with transmission problems, it was jumping out of reverse, I fought with that for a few months, a sevice bulletin finally came for that. Now there is loud gear grinding when I put it in reverse. I just dropped it off this morning for that.
  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    I received a call from the dealership today. They say that they are ordering the parts for the transmission today. No later then this Friday they are to have the updates from Chrysler on the computer adjustments.
  • My 2007 SXT downshifts bad when coming to a stop at slow
    speed (1-5mph). Almost a shudder like feeling. Quick stops
    are ok. The problem is still there at 7000 miles
    Our 1985 and 1997 shifted fine. This one has a glitch
    Been to the dealor twice. Going back soon.
    Any news on a fix for this problem yet?
  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    Well, guess what, no call call from dealership on the fix.
    I've got less then 4,000 miles on mine and it seems to be getting worse instead f better. Well keep you posted.
  • 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan 3.1L
    For maybe 2 years, the transmission would "jerk" while driving anywhere, in town, on the highway, at any speed basically, and in any gear. It was annoying but I did what I do best and ignored, it, figuring I would just wait for the whole transmission to go instead of sending a mechanic in there to waste my money and maybe solve nothing.

    Anyway, I had a wild hair about a month or so ago, and decided to change the filter. It had never been done, on a van with 190,000 miles. (No comments, please.) So, changed the filter, cleaned the magnet (it was really bad), put it all back together and VOILA! The thing shifts as smooth as the day I bought it.

    I've been told that a flush would have done the same thing, but some mechanics have told me that a flush will just stir things up that don't need stirred up. It wasn't all that difficult doing the filter and magnet, and if you are careful it isn't overly messy. So, needless to say, I am glad I did it. If anyone out there is having transmission problems, try what I did first. It's better than a $150.00 diagnostic charge.
  • tom166tom166 Posts: 31
    Last thursday the tourqe converter was replaced along with computer updates. This has almost taken care of the problem. I still feel a slight surge as I come to a stop and take off. I will give it a week and take it back. The fluid change may work for you but on the new caravans it's more then the fluid.
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